Its been about 10 days since my last post.... during this time I have come full circle which is very very frustrating.
Will start the story at the weekend of the 21st September, stitches still in and the course of antibiotics successfully completed. Slightly disappointed that I am not taking part in the Reebok Challenge but knowing my stitches are coming out soon , there was a small possability that I could take some part in the Stan Chart Marathon...... ( very optomistic I know!).
Saturday morning, I noticed I had slight pain in my left arm pit ( this was only identified when wifey very kindly poked me ...I forget why). It hurt like hell but I put it down (initially) as just one of these things, an unpoked place recieving some attention?
As the day went on the pain became worse and I started getting a similar pain in the other arm pit. I immediately reached for Google. I had a suspicion that there was something in the nodal system that sits in there ( since my absess I have become obsessed with Lymph node diagrams ). Sure enough, there is something called an Axillary Lymph node that sits under there.
I decided not to panic but to ask my doctor friends what I should do , both advised caution ie if it gets worse get my ass to A&E. So i patiently monitored through to Sunday.
I woke up on Sunday morning , immediately glued to Facebook to see how all my friends did in the Reebok Challenge, and sure enough ( and annoyingly) they all had a blast and some even managing PBs for 19-20K despite the obstacles.
I then noticed I couldnt lift my arms higher than mid range without being in excrutiating pain. Off to A&E I went, where i sat and had to retell my sage to at least 2-3 people before being seen by the "chief Medical Officer" unsure if he is a doctor or glorified nurse but anyway... I retell my story.
He feels around in my armpits and tells me something that brought back a hint if de ja vous. "Well it's not cancer". I know I should be thankful but why is this always the default answer instead of ... "I am not sure , we should run more tests "?
So bottom line, more antibiotics prescribed and off I was sent. I wasn't too concerned as the next day was my usual daily dressing change with my surgeon doctor.
"I wouldn't worry too much about the nodes in your armpits", Surgeon doctor stated, " It's probably just a secondary reaction but will clear up with the new meds but your wounds are healing nicely. I am confident we can take out the stitches on Friday !"
Music to my ears, instantly forgetting about the dismissive nature for my aching pits!
Friday comes, I have planned a light session of squats in the gym that evening in the hope that positive thinking will get me through this unscathed.
One by one , the stitches are yanked and cut and it hurts like buggery ! The wounds have healed but I have holes akin to a laced shoe in my hand and arm. What was I thinking ? Gym ??????
I slowly drive home , one armed with my chin dragging along the floor knowing that if I still have holes in my arm... I cannot run the marathon that weekend.
Begrudgingly I gave away my bib , focussing now on the Spartan race which is a week later. I figured, stitch holes should be quick to heal right ? WRONG
Sunday morning , I awake , again glued to FB checking out my friend's posts about the marathon trawling through the pics and commenting on how well people did. ( Again annoyingly lol ! )
I glanced down at my arm and I see, residue on the bandages......... instantly I know what this means. Infection is back ........... I avoid thinking about it for the rest of the day and focus on the next day for the dressing change and assessment. By the way , armpit pain had now returned again.
Sigh... now we come to Monday, I woke up late due to constant worrying the night before which meant that I had to wait a long time to see the doctor. When the bandages came off, it was a mess.
a stitch hole was swollen, red and weeping. (I felt like weeping too).
"where did this come from?" He exclaimed, " Are you still on those antibiotics?"
"They ran out two days ago", I replied. "And my armpits are hurting again".
After a whole heap of squeezing to extract all the evil fluid out, he then proceeded to make the hole bigger with a pair of sterile plastic tongs . I can't describe the pain but u can imagine it wasnt a picnic for me.
" I think we should admit you"...
"Erm, I am kind of going on holiday on Wednesday",
"Shit, how long are you going to be away",
"OK , I am going to get you some meds for 10 days then we need to reassess".
So now, I still have some sort of infection and the small stitch hole is now a 1-2 cm wide.....
Spartan was looking very very far away.
That afternoon, I needed to make a decision. People still don't know what is wrong with me, Spartan is out but could I even travel? What happens if travelling makes me worse ? Worst case scenario, I get admitted in hospital in Australia ... its not gonna be cheap, and not much fun for my wife.
I called up the doctor and told him I have cancelled my trip and that I want to be referred to a physician. He duely agreed and made arrangements for Tuesday afternoon.
Today is Tuesday, zero sleep due to armpit agony and open wound pain. I get to the hospital, with bags packed in case they want to admit me again.
Bandages off, surprise surprise ... more puss. My doctor is now very confused,
"Do you think we should be doing blood tests?" I enquired,
"But your cultures came back negative", ( I think that meant no)
Anyway I didnt argue as I knew i had another appointment with someone else.
I wait 3 hours before my other appointment and as I sit in front of my new doctor I recant my tale of woe, reciting all the different types of antibiotics I have been on ( 4 of them !). The new doctor is someone I am familiar with as he treated my wife previously.
He patiently listens in silence, making the occasional note here and there and referring to previous sheets to see if my information tallies with his. He then asks " Did anyone take cultures of the new infection", I shook my head. "Oh, we need that to find out what could be the cause".
This sounds like Medicine 1on1 and I was feelin slightly frustrated that this hadnt been done previously. He ponders for a moment and then says " I am concerned that you may have Psuedo.. pseudo.. mallei". Was this suppose to mean something to me ?
He then swivels his chair towards his computer and launches ..... Google. Typing Psuedom he gets what he has been searching for.. "pseudomonas pseudomallei !" he triumphantly announces.
As we both review the Wiki page ( Really ? This is what I am paying for?) it looks like a good candidate but I didnt experience the high fever or the severe coughing.... yet .
"The medicine you are on , should do the trick if this is what you have but we need to get a sample of the puss to be sure".
So here we are ... 4 events to be missed , 1 holiday cancelled and still no confirmed idea of what the hell is wrong with me..... All I can do is be positive, take the meds and make sure I eat properly to give my body every chance of fighting this infection.
Tomorrow is a new day, let's see what happens... . Tough Mudder end of October... not even gonna think about it.... yet ;).